28 August, 2016

Philippians 4:8—“whatsoever things are true… honest… just… pure… lovely… of good report… virtue… praise”

Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things (Philippians 4:8 KJV).

This passage is sometimes appealed to in support of the idea that either man is not totally depraved, or by virtue of an operation of common grace there are things of good report outside the sphere of saving grace and redemption—things in the unregenerate world which are true, righteous, honourable, praiseworthy and virtuous, and which deserve the support of the Christian.


Prof. David J. Engelsma

[Source: The Standard Bearer, Vol. 69, Issue 3]

Christians then are to be thinking always on the excellent things in Homer; on the virtuous things in Socrates; on the just things in Roman jurisprudence; and on the lovely things in the latest novel, movie, and piece of secular music.

If the perfections of Philippians 4:8 are indeed found in the unbelieving world (the world judged by the Bible to be a Christ-crucifying world), the Holy Spirit of sanctification is superfluous; the judgment upon the world and all that is in it in I John 2:16 is false; and the call to separation from the world in II Corinthians 6:14ff. is unreasonable.

The truth is that the perfections of Philippians 4:8 are not found in unregenerated men and the system of life that they control. That Paul did not think so is plain in Philippians 2:15 where he describes the world of unregenerated men as "a crooked and perverse nation." The glorious perfections of Philippians 4:8, upon which the saints are always to be thinking, are the perfections revealed in the gospel of Christ and found only in the holy church. As the following verse indicates, the perfections of Philippians 4:8 are "those things which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me."



More to come! (DV)

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